CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The full Senate will consider Senate Bill 614, a bill focused on discipline in schools after being approved by the Senate Education Committee.

On WAJR’s “Talk of the Town,” sponsor of the bill Amy Grady (R, Mason), and also a teacher said after hearing from numerous teachers about serious problems in the classroom it was time to act.

“I cannot do anything about the behaviors in my classroom and I can’t do my job. All I’m doing is redirecting, all I’m doing is defending myself and keeping my other students safe,” Grady said a veteran teacher told her. “So, it was time for us to listen to them.”

The bill directs teachers to place students from kindergarten and grade 6 in an intervention program provided by the county if they display violent, threatening or intimidating behavior- or create an unsafe learning environment. Senator Mike Oliverio, (R, Monongalia) said there should be no second thoughts in giving teachers the authority to make that call.

“The definition of this bill of violent, threatening and intimidating behavior on a consistent basis,” Oliverio said. “We ought to have confidence in teachers to be able to make that call and recognize that problem and have steps in place to address that.

An elementary school teacher, Grady understands the classroom. Many teacher express frustration when one or two students in a class disrupt the learning process for the remainder of the students.

“Our teachers make millions of decisions a day just like this, so to think they can’t make a decision on this to see what is threatening and what isn’t, like Senator Oliverio said we need to give them the benefit of the doubt and understand they are professionals and this what they do on a daily basis.”

About half the counties in the state have intervention programs in place and Grady said they are encouraging the other counties to establish them or look to nearby counties with programs. If a county doesn’t have a program the child would be asked to leave the classroom, parents would be notified, and the student would not be allowed to ride the bus home. If parents don’t come to pick the student up by the end of the day law enforcement could be called.

“If a county doesn’t have the option or doesn’t have the program in place or the option of using or sharing services with a county beside them then there are other options like virtual learning and homebound,” Grady said.

Lawmakers argue the bill would allow teachers to focus more on teaching and removes the students who need more help than a teacher can provide in the classroom setting.

“We need the other 19 of those 20 kids to be our doctors, lawyers, school teachers, engineers and pharmacists in the future and they’re not going to be able to do that if they’re learning is continually disrupted,” Oliverio said.